The discussion is over: Gambhir feels 'it has to be Ishan Kishan' who should open with Rohit in ODIs
With Shikhar Dhawan dropped, India still have quite a few batters who can accompany Rohit Sharma at the top. But, former Indian opener-turned-commentator Gautam Gambhir is crystal clear that Ishan Kishan deserves to partner Rohit in ODIs.
Ishan Kishan ended 2022 with a bang by becoming only the fourth Indian -- seventh overall -- to slam an ODI double ton during the Indian tour of Bangladesh in December. Playing the third and inconsequential tie due to regular captain Rohit Sharma's thumb injury, the 24-year-old made the most of the opportunity and slammed a majestic 131-ball 210, laced with 24 fours and 10 sixes. Thus, Ishan made a big statement with India stepping into 2023, i.e. an ODI World Cup year with Men in Blue set to host the mega event.
Ahead of India's first international assignment in 2023, the BCCI selection committee -- under outgoing chief Chetan Sharma -- announced the national side's white-ball squads for their home series versus Sri Lanka, starting on January 03. While there was no mention of first-choice Rishabh Pant -- a first-choice keeper-batter across formats -- Kishan found his name in both the squads. With Shikhar Dhawan dropped, India still has quite a few batters who can accompany Rohit at the top. But, former Indian opener-turned-commentator Gautam Gambhir is crystal clear that Kishan deserves to partner Rohit in ODIs..
As quoted by Cricinfo, Gambhir said that the discussion about who should be Sharma's partner at the top should be over following Kishan's blitz. "I'm amazed we're discussing this, because someone's got a double-hundred in the previous innings," Gambhir pointed out when asked to name his choice on who should open with Rohit. "The discussion is over. It has to be Ishan Kishan. Someone who can get a double-hundred in those conditions against a reasonable attack - especially at [their] home - should play."
"He got what 200 by the 35th over mark? You can't look at anyone beyond Ishan Kishan. He has to be given a longer run. He can keep wickets as well, so he can do two jobs for you. So for me, that discussion shouldn't be there. If someone else had got a double-hundred, I think we would've gone gung-ho over that individual, but it's not the case with Ishan Kishan. Because we still continue to talk about other players. For me, that debate is over," he asserted.
Further, Gambhir mentioned his ideal India XI at this moment. "It's very difficult to look beyond Rohit and Ishan Kishan to open the batting, Virat at three, Surya at four, [and] Shreyas at five, because he's been incredible in the last one-and-a-half years. Yes, he's had issues against the short ball, but he's been able to manage it. You can't be the best against everything but if you're able to manage it and got the numbers going for you, you can't look beyond Shreyas at No. 5 and Hardik [Pandya] at 6."
India, under Hardik Pandya, will host SL in three T20Is -- from January 3 in Mumbai -- before the ODI series kicks off on January 10.
India’s squad for Sri Lanka T20Is: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav (VC), Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, Mukesh Kumar.
India’s squad for Sri Lanka ODIs: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya (VC), Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh.
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